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Snowden confidant Glenn Greenwald a ‘porn spy,’ says Canadian politician

Published time: February 01, 2014 10:42
Glenn Greenwald, American journalist who first published the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino)

Glenn Greenwald, American journalist who first published the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino)

Following a report that passengers using Wi-Fi service at a Canadian airport were trailed for days via their wireless devices, one prominent Canadian politician has rejected the charges, while disparaging former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald.

As hardly a week goes by without some new shocking revelation being divulged from US whistleblower Edward Snowden’s trove of classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA), battle lines are being drawn between those who hail the former CIA contractor as a national hero, and those who condemn him as a traitor.

Such bitter reckoning invariably includes some degree of passionate debate, the sort of which was on full display in the Canadian Parliament on Friday when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, Paul Calandra, blasted the allegations published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Mr. Speaker, last night the CBC aired a misleading report on Canada's signals intelligence agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC),” Calandra told MPs. “These documents were stolen by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden and sold to the CBC by Glenn Greenwald.”

Calandra said the country’s electronic spy agency voiced its objections that the CBC story was not correct, yet “the CBC went ahead and published it anyway.”

The exclusive story by CBC, which was co-authored by Glenn Greenwald, said that travelers passing through a major Canadian airport were unwittingly caught up in an electronic surveillance net, which allowed the CSEC to track the wireless devices of thousands of airline passengers – even for days after they had left the terminal.

“In the case of the airport tracking operation, the metadata apparently identified travelers' wireless devices, but not the content of calls made or emails sent from them,” the article said.

Professor Ronald Deibert, an internet security expert at the University of Toronto, is convinced the agency’s activities are illegal. He said: "I can't see any circumstance in which this would not be unlawful, under current Canadian law, under our Charter, under CSEC's mandates."

Calandra, Harper’s parliamentary secretary, said that before the story aired, CSEC denied that anything in Snowden’s disclosures showed that passengers using Wi-Fi in a major Canadian airport had their communications “targeted, collected, or used, nor that travellers' movements were tracked.”

CSEC's intelligence work is regularly reviewed by an independent agency that has “consistently found it has followed the law,” he added.

Calandra then dropped a proverbial bombshell on the former Guardian journalist who first broke the Snowden story last summer: “Why is furthering porn-spy Glenn Greenwald's agenda and lining his Brazilian bank account more important than maintaining the public broadcaster's journalistic integrity?”

The secretary's comment on the “Brazilian bank account” appeared to be a reference to Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, who put up $50 million into a new media venture he is setting up with Greenwald. However, what Calandra was referring to in his comment about Greenwald being a “porn spy” is less clear.

The only connection to porn in this ongoing saga seems to be connected to the NSA’s alleged gathering of online visits to pornography websites, aimed specifically at Muslims, whom the agency was seeking to discredit due to their “radicalizing” efforts.

The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, aims to exploit the “personal vulnerabilities” of its targets through their online tendencies, including “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.”

Meanwhile, Edward Snowden, presently living in Russia where he was granted temporary asylum last August, has also been the target of fierce criticism by political leaders whose governments’ intelligence activities were exposed in the massive security breach.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott this week declared Snowden a “traitor” who “betrayed his country,” just one week after his foreign minister, Julie Bishop, during a speech in Washington, accused the former NSA contractor of “unprecedented treachery” and “shamefully betraying his nation” .

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